Gillard Hot Springs, Arizona

The road to the hottest spring in Arizona is thoroughly destroyed by flash flood.

Scalding water in 180 degrees F water is gushing in the remote area.

Miner’s Hiking Spot in the Past

Morenci is a mining town in the eastern Arizona, near the border with New Mexico.

There is one of the largest copper mines in North America, which is possessed by Freeport-McMoRan (72%) and affiliated companies of Sumitomo Metal Mining (28%).

Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci Operations

You will see many special-purpose vehicles as large as a house crossing a street.

There remains an old hiking spot that was popular among miners of Morenci Operations started the business in 1872.

It is 30 minutes’ drive from the mine to south for finding Gillard Hot Springs Road.

Going west along the dirt road, it is blocked with a barbed-wire fence.

Barbed Wire

You need to get out the car here, duck under the fence, and move forward.

By the way, one of the most likely causes of death in the desert is said to be drowning.

You may wonder the reason, and it is flash flood unique to the desert.

Due to the lack of water retaining capacity, a heavy rainfall can easily causes flash flood, failing to penetrate into the soil.

Slot Canyon

The torrent washed out the road and created a slot canyon.

The hot spring that used to be a miners’ hiking spot is hardly forgotten in this way.

It is easy to jump ten feet down to the bottom, but looks like difficult to climb it for the return journey.

Getting anxious, go downstream the dried-up canyon.

Bottom of the Canyon

It is not as beautiful as the popular scenic site, Antelope Canyon, but the structure is quite similar.

Rocks and stones are roundly eroded, which means gallons of rainwater rush to the narrow canyon.

Boiling Hot Water

This is the riverside of the Gila River.


It is the middle stream as New Mexico is the upper reaches of the river.

There are no artificial structures except a signboard that alert the scalding water.

The Gila River

Finally, you reached the destination.

The bank near the water surface is tarnished by the hot spring deposits.

The length is around 150 feet along the river, and boiling hot water is gushing widely.

It has no particular smell.


When reaching it, I got burn injury as expected.

The water is 180 degrees F at the gushing point, and not uniformly mixed with the river water.


The amount of river water is too much to be heated to comfortable temperature for dipping in.

What is worse is a little bit muddy river water.

Red Pool

It cannot be said an ideal soaking, but hot spring maniacs must visit here because of the scalding water and brightly colored deposits.

Gillard Hot Springs, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, Arizona, USA
Official WebsiteNO

Related hot springs

If you are interested in comfortable soaking, one and a half hours’ drive from Gillard Hot Springs will take you to Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area.

Hot Well Dunes

Hot Well Dunes, Safford, Arizona, USA

The park requires $3.00 for each vehicle and provides two hot tubs fed by clean mineral water in 106 degrees F.

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Ken Springfield